Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.
Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.
Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.
Both Vikings defensive back Xavier Rhodes and wide receiever Joe Webb were full participants for the first time this week. With Rhodes playing Sunday, it helps solidify one of the Vikings’ corner spots in a depleted secondary facing Bears wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
“We’re pretty thin in the secondary and playing with a lot of guys that are out of position that you don’t really want to play as much as we’re having to play them because it does affect your special teams as well," Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said. "To have Xavier back, that’s a big deal.”
Frazier said Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will also play on Sunday despite missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Fraizer said Peterson looked fine in his return to practice on Friday.
“Just trying to rest that groin a little bit and let him get treatment,” Frazier said. “Not 100 percent but not to the point where it’s worse than it was when we played Green Bay.”
Vikings safety Harrison Smith practiced for the first time since suffering a turf toe injury against the Panthers in Week 6. While he’s able to practice, Smith isn’t eligible to return off injured reserve until Dec. 15 against the Eagles.
“He really looked pretty good,” Frazier said. “I was telling [Vikings head athletic trainer] Eric Sugarman a little bit ago that that rule is a good rule but man I wouldn’t mind if he could play this week, because he moved around well enough where you had no qualms putting him in the ballgame.”
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said defensive back Josh Robinson will not be placed on injured reserve following a fractured sternum he suffered against the Seahawks last week.
Frazier said he received a positive report on Robinson's recovery on Monday and expects him to return in a few weeks. Robinson's recovery time was initially announced 4-6 weeks with six games remaining.
Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph could also begin practicing next week. He fractured his left foot in Week 9 against the Cowboys and was also slated to miss 4-6 weeks.
“They’re both making good progress, so the IR conversation is kind of on the backburner,” Frazier said.
Vikings defensive back Xavier Rhodes and wide receiver Joe Webb both suffered concussions in Sunday’s tie with the Packers. Frazier said their injuries will be the biggest health concerns leading up to Sunday’s contest against the Bears at the Metrodome.
Frazier also expects Vikings safety Harrison Smith, who was placed on injured reserve in October but designated to return, to practice on Wednesday. He has missed six weeks and still needs to sit out two more games before Harrison’s eligible to return with the team against the Eagles on Dec. 15.
Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings practiced for the first time this week on Thursday. He was a late scratch in Sunday’s loss against the Seahawks because of an Achilles injury that held him out of Wednesday’s practice, but he expects to play against his former team, the Packers, at Lambeau Field.
“Oh, I’m going,” Jennings said. “Unless the Lord does something different, has a different game plan and he delays this coming, I will be at Lambeau dressed and ready to go.”
Jennings said he doesn’t have any expectations for the reception he’ll receive during his return to Lambeau Field. He attempted to downplay the situation, claiming this game to be just another road game, but Jennings later admitted Sunday’s contest will be different.
“I’ll be used to the field, locker room will be a little different but a change of scenery is always good,” Jennings said.
Other injury notes:
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (groin), center John Sullivan (concussion) and linebacker Erin Henderson (personal matter) did not participate in Thursday's practice. Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier remains optimistic that Peterson will play, but he's not as certain on Sullivan and Henderson.
Sullivan has yet to pass the NFL protocol on concussion related injuries and would likely be ruled out of Sunday's game if he doesn't practice Friday. Frazier isn't sure if Henderson will play as he deals with a personal issue. Linebacker Audie Cole would likely start in Henderson's place with linebacker Michael Mauti limited again on Thursday (knee).
Viking defensive ends Jared Allen (back) and Brian Robison (neck), defensive tackles Fred Evans (knee/shoulder) and Letroy Guion (chest) and tight end Rhett Ellison (ankle) were also limited Thursday.
Vikings defensive back Josh Robinson will be out 4-6 weeks because of a fractured sternum he suffered in Sunday's loss against the Seahawks, Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier announced during Monday's press conference.
Frazier did not say whether they would place Robinson on injured reserve yet with six weeks left in the season. That option will be discussed today by the front office. Xavier Rhodes would replace Robinson as the starting left cornerback, and Marcus Sherels would be the nickel back.
Vikings center John Sullivan also suffered a concussion during the game and will go through the NFL's protocol on concussion-related injuries.
Frazier has not made a decision on the starting quarterback against the Packers on Sunday.
He also said that Adrian Peterson, who was hampered because of a groin injury Sunday, would be evaluated this week.
The Vikings play at Green Bay on Sunday.
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (left shoulder) was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice. Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier hasn't said if Ponder will start against the Seahawks on Sunday.
Only two Vikings didn’t participate in Wednesday’s practice, a telling sign that the extended break over the weekend did the injury plagued team some good.
Everyone participated in some way other than defensive tackle Fred Evans (knee) and tight end Kyle Rudoph (foot). Linebacker Erin Henderson (illness), running back Matt Asiata (shoulder), tight end Rhett Ellison (ankle) and fullback Jerome Felton (back) were also limited along with Ponder.
Tackle Phil Loadholt (concussion), guard Charlie Johnson (elbow/toe), safety Jamarca Sanford (groin), defensive tackle Letroy Guion (chest) and defensive back Chris Cook (hamstring) were all full participants.
Former Vikings and current Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin (hip) was limited in practice. Running back Marshawn Lynch (knee) was also a limited participant.
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